When you think of Idaho, what comes to mind? Maybe it’s the potato state, or maybe it’s just a place on your map. Well, let me tell you that this great state has some pretty awesome waterfalls.
Idaho is known for its rugged beauty, offering destinations that are full of adventure. And traveling through it, you’ll find yourself surrounded by some of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the world. From popular falls like Shoshone Falls to less known but equally impressive ones, you are guaranteed to have a great time exploring all that it has to offer.
I recently had the chance to explore Idaho and take in some of its natural beauty. And in this post, I will give you a list of the 12 best waterfalls in Idaho. While these waterfalls are all amazing, they each have their own special qualities.
1. Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls
Bordering the city of Twin Falls in Southern Idaho, Shoshone Falls is one of America’s most incredible and popular waterfalls. It’s one of the largest falls in North America and lays claim to being “the Niagara falls of the West.”
This great waterfall has a drop of 212 feet, and it is preceded by a couple of smaller cascades. The canyon walkway is well developed, with several viewing platforms that enable you to get an up-close look at this magnificent waterfall. And I can assure you it’s a dramatic sight as the water plummets into a massive gorge and is you thrown over the edge of a basalt lava flow, which also formed the Snake River Canyon.
What makes this destination even more interesting is the surrounding parkland. The Visitor Information Center and Museum display information about the region’s geology, natural history, and human history.
There is a cute little park by the parking lot with picnic areas and public restrooms. Keep in mind that while you may see people swimming in the swimming hole below this massive waterfall during summer, I do not recommend it because there are no lifeguards on duty. In addition, water is extremely cold, and dangerous currents are prevalent.
2. Shadow Falls, Idaho Panhandle National Forests
Shadow Falls, located in Northern Idaho near the Montana border, is another magnificent waterfall worth visiting. It’s considered one of the best waterfalls in Idaho, but well-known among everyone who loves nature. This might explain why this place is so popular with hikers and photographers.
The most amazing thing I like about this place is that you can choose between two falls to admire: Shadow or Fern falls. The hike is short and not too difficult if you take your time and watch your step! But if you take the forest roads leading to the trailhead, I recommend using a high-clearance vehicle.
When you visit Shadow Falls, get ready for an amazing photographic experience because there are some great photo opportunities here. The fall has a drop of 25 feet, and you can easily feel its power as it surges over the fall’s rim. The rocks surrounding this magnificent wonder are painted with all sorts of colors and textures, which makes it even more special and unique.
The second fall, Fern falls, is equally stunning. And you can reach it by veering off the Shadow Falls trail near the parking lot. It’s a small fall but very beautiful. It takes its name from the fern-like plants that cover its perch high on a mountainside across the canyon.
I particularly liked shadow falls because it’s great for everyone in the family. In addition, there are good hiking trails with an abundant amount of spectacular photo opportunities.
3. Mesa Falls, Caribou-Targhee National Forest
Mesa Falls, located on the Henrys Fork of the Snake River, is one of the most scenic waterfalls in Idaho and makes for a wonderful day hike or backpacking destination.
Mesa Falls is called a tiered waterfall because it has two distinct drops: The upper and lower falls. However, they are both impressive in their own right. And each of them has water volumes that vary depending on the season.
The upper mesa falls drop is 100 feet and looks like a stairway of water that pours into the Snake River canyon. The lower mesa falls of this multi-drop attraction vary in height from 45 to 60 feet. And depending on water levels during any particular season, it can be either very impressive or just a trickle over the rocks.
In addition to visiting Mesa Falls, there’s also an interesting visitor center with nature exhibits and interactive displays. There are educational programs offered throughout the year, including hikes through the surrounding forest where you can learn about native plants and birds.
4. Moyie Falls
Moyie Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Idaho. It’s found on the Moyie River just outside Bonners Ferry, making this waterfall quite popular with locals and visitors alike.
This waterfall has two distinct drops. The main drop measures 100 feet with smaller cascades below that tumbles 20 to 40 feet down a steep basalt cliff face.
There are several viewing platforms at various angles, so you can get your fill on this incredibly powerful waterfall. The area surrounding the falls is lush and green with pines followed by bear grass near the forest floor.
The falls are best viewed when water levels are high in early summertime. But regardless of how much water flows over these rocks, they remain picturesque all year round. One interesting thing about this area-besides being amazing, is that it’s also the location of the Moyie Bridge. At one time, this was an important crossing for Native American tribes, fur trappers, and traders who passed through this area on their way to Canada.
One word of caution: stay alert because although it’s beautiful, Moyie Falls has claimed lives due to people slipping off its edges and falling into the plunge pool below or getting swept away by the river currents.
5. Perrine Coulee Falls
This is another must-see fall in Idaho that deserves to be on this list. Located in the heart of Twin Falls, it’s easy to access and can satisfy even the most demanding visitors.
Perrine Coulee Falls is located near the Perrine Bridge (hence its name). It has a drop of 200 feet, which makes it a magnificent sight to see and photograph. Even more impressive than its height is the surrounding landscape, which is a perfect backdrop for some amazing images.
The fall can be accessed in 2 ways. The first one is through the Snake River Canyon Trail, which gives you amazing views from above. The second way is through a 2-mile trail at the bottom of the falls, which navigates behind the free-flowing waterfall. Both trails together will give you a great experience and amazing views.
In general, Perrine Coulee Falls is definitely one of the best waterfalls in Idaho, and I highly recommend everyone to see it at least once. It brings together elegance and power in a natural blend that won’t disappoint any visitor. In addition, the surrounding scenery offers more than enough reasons to get out your camera and take pictures or selfies with the falls.
6. Ritter Island, Thousand Springs State Park
Ritter Island is also home to one of the best waterfalls in Idaho: Minnie Miller Springs. It flows from a subterranean river that emerges from the base of a limestone cliff and drops into the Snake River below. This unusual phenomenon makes this fall a very special place.
Minnie Miller Springs produces a very consistent flow year-round, resulting in a dependable water supply for the Snake River. The most notable thing about this fall is its strong flow of crystal clear water.
And since Ritter Island is located inside the Thousand Springs State Park, you can also get to enjoy swimming and hiking. There are also picnic sites available so you can enjoy lunch by the falls or prepare your own barbecue at one of the grills provided.
I think this is a good place to visit if you are traveling with children. There are tons of rocks and other great opportunities for geocaching, climbing, and other fun summer activities. Another good thing to do while visiting Ritter Island is to hike around it through one of its trails because there are several nice views from different vantage points all around the island.
7. Niagara Springs, Thousand Springs State Park
Niagara Springs has the distinction of being one of the must-see Idaho waterfalls when you travel in this state. Considerable development has occurred to make it accessible to visitors, along with added attractions that aren’t always seen at other falls.
An enormous amount of water comes from the ground drops down a foliage-covered slope of the Snake River Canyon. And because of its attractive location and ease of access, it is a very popular stop.
The surrounding area is so quaint and clean, and I loved every minute of my experience here! It was one of my new favorite places after visiting. In addition, the breathtaking views will make you jump with joy because nature always manages to amaze us in incredible ways.
I didn’t spend much time at Niagara Springs because there were not many things to see and do. Plus, it’s kind of crowded all the time. But even with that said, it’s well worth your time to take a look at one of nature’s best treasures!
8. Devil’s Punchbowl Waterfall, Thousand Springs State Park
The devil’s punchbowl Waterfall, located in the Malad Gorge State Park, is arguably one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Idaho.
You can hear the falls before you can see them as they cascade over a sheer cliff and drop 121 feet into a deep pool beneath. To get an even closer look, venture out onto one of several rock ledges that jut out over this incredibly beautiful scene.
Be careful because there is a lot of loose rock. Water flows very strongly during spring or after heavy rain. Keep in mind that when visiting this waterfall, you should wear sturdy shoes because the terrain is hilly, dark, and rocky.
This waterfall is accessible via a short hike by following Interstate 84 until you reach Malad Gorge, State Park. The good thing about this place is that it’s close to the road. So you can see other vehicles pass by.
I think this waterfall is one-of-a-kind and absolutely worth seeing. So, make sure you pack your camera to capture this amazing place.
9. Cauldron Linn Falls
Located along the Snake River in southern Idaho, Cauldron Linn falls are probably the best waterfalls in Idaho.
Extending over 40-feet wide, the falls are known for their outstanding rock formations. And while it is not as tall as Shoshone Falls, they both share similar characteristics, and I think they’re equally beautiful in their own right.
The best time to visit the falls is during spring, when they are in full force. I still think you can get a good view of the falls any time of year, but it’s best to visit them in spring or early summer when water flow is at its highest. Springtime also brings out the wildflowers, which dot the area around this waterfall with their vibrant colors.
Hiking trails that lead to the base of these falls are not developed. And due to the lack of easily accessible features, this location does not see many visitors. So if you want a place where you can be alone with your thoughts and enjoy this majestic wonder, Cauldron Linn falls are the perfect location.
However, note that you have to be careful as there are no safety rails at this waterfall. So take care when walking around the area.
10. Twin Falls
Twin Falls is the largest city in south-central Idaho and one of the most popular outdoor destinations in the state. The Twin Falls area offers a beautiful canyon and several waterfalls.
But what has made this area popular is the presence of twin falls. This stunning waterfall is one of the most dramatic waterfalls I’ve seen because it’s so massive and well-developed. The falls are not only popular because there are two cascades, but the canyon itself is a natural wonder.
The trail to Twin Falls is very easy, so the hike is easy enough for just about anyone. The rocky landscape that surrounds the waterfall makes for an eye-catching scene. And keep your eyes open for some great photos because there are many different angles where you can capture Twin Falls at their best. Hike up to the top of the upper falls for an even better view!
In addition to enjoying the waterfall, you can also visit Centennial Waterfront Park, which is the town’s center of activity. Here you can enjoy gorgeous views of the Snake River, see an awesome fountain show, enjoy guided boat tours, and even practice Kayaking.
Overall, Twin Falls Idaho is another waterfall you can’t miss. And I recommend it to anyone looking for a relaxing hike through nature.
11. Fall Creek Waterfall, Caribou-Targhee National Forest
Some of the best waterfalls are found in eastern Idaho, and Fall Creek Falls is a must-see attraction if you want to explore the best that Idaho has to offer.
Located at Caribou-Targhee National Forest, this 60-foot high waterfall spans a Cliffside above the Snake River and provides an amazing backdrop for photographers who love nature photography.
With plenty of surrounding trails, there are many opportunities to get up-close views. However, note that it can be tricky to climb back up. Some people choose to swim in the pool below this fall, but again there are no lifeguards around.
In addition, keep in mind that there are no railings or protection devices along any part of this trail, and it can be dangerous and slippery when wet.
12. Lady Face Falls, Sawtooth National Forest
Located in the Sawtooth Mountain of Central Idaho, Lady Face Falls is one of the best waterfalls in Northern Idaho. At about 150 feet high, it’s not nearly as high as Shoshone Falls, but it sure makes up for size with its beautiful rushing flow over a basalt lava bed that created this entire region.
The waterfall is named “Lady Face” thanks to its unique shape that looks like the profile of a woman’s face when viewed from above. This lovely attraction offers visitors year-round access and is considered safe for people of all ages.
The surrounding parkland features babbling brooks and forested mountains, which enhance the scenic beauty even more. It has some impressive granite outcroppings, which are great for climbing, and the area is surrounded by beautiful flowers.
Snacks are available at the visitor center, which also has an extensive array of information regarding geology, natural history, and human history.
I suggest visiting this attraction if you are exploring Northern Idaho. It’s a quick trip from the city, making it a perfect day outing that won’t take up your entire weekend.
Idaho is a beautiful state with many waterfalls to visit and enjoy, but I had to narrow it down! These 12 best waterfalls in Idaho are sure to be some of the most breathtaking sights you will ever see. I suggest packing your camera and getting ready for an adventure because these falls will not disappoint.